Crossroads Asia | Economic system | Central Asia

A big Uzbek delegation visited Kabul over the weekend, with commerce and transit points underneath dialogue.

The Taliban requested Uzbekistan to decrease transit charges for cargo shifting via the Central Asian nation whereas praising the bilateral relationship and airing anticipation of accelerating Afghan exports.

The subject arose through the go to of a high-level Uzbek delegation to Kabul in late October. 

Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khojaev led a delegation to the Afghan capital on October 29-30. In line with reporting from Gazeta.uz, he was accompanied by Minister of Vitality Zhurabek Mirzamahmudov, Minister of Transport Ilham Makhkamov, Minister of Water Sources Shavkat Hamraev, Minister of Mining and Geology Bobir Islamov, Minister of Agriculture Ibrahim Abdurakhmonov, Particular Consultant of the President for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev, and others, together with a large group of enterprise representatives.

Commerce and transit had been the top-line gadgets for the go to, alongside cooperation in a spread of associated sectors, together with railways, mines, water administration, and even academic alternatives in Uzbekistan for Afghans. 

The Taliban aspect was led by Deputy Prime Minister for Financial Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. In line with a Taliban authorities readout of the assembly, Baradar “underlined Afghanistan’s dedication to serving as a pivotal transit level within the area.”

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He “praised the balanced commerce relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and anticipated a big enhance in Afghan exports to Uzbekistan. In gentle of this, he inspired Uzbekistan to contemplate particular preferential tariffs and pleasant commerce interactions.”

Kun.uz reported {that a} joint working group had been fashioned to investigate the charge constructions in place. In line with feedback to Kun.uz by Uzbek Ministry of Transport  press secretary Navruz Ashurmatov, an settlement was reached to arrange a working group “with the purpose of evaluating the quantities of charges and funds collected from nationwide carriers on the territory of the 2 states, discussing and discovering options to current issues within the discipline of cargo transportation with the participation of carriers of the 2 states, [and] accountable authorities our bodies.”

For his half, per the Taliban readout, Khojaev expressed Uzbekistan’s readiness to collaborate with Afghanistan and reportedly revealed a “commerce route map” aimed toward boosting Afghanistan’s exports to Uzbekistan, “with the objective of accelerating the commerce quantity between the 2 international locations to roughly $3 billion” from the present stage of round $600 million. Khojaev famous Uzbek plans to simplify visa procedures for Afghan entrepreneurs and drivers, in addition to plans to open a enterprise middle in Termez to cater to Afghan companies. 

What’s maybe most outstanding is simply now regular relations between the Taliban and Uzbekistan are, regardless of the truth that no authorities – together with Tashkent – has formally acknowledged the Taliban regime following its ascent to energy in August 2021. That is still a technicality on the worldwide stage, one clearly not impeding cooperation throughout the border the place mutual pursuits meet. 

However, there stay factors of competition within the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan relationship, significantly concerning the Qosh Tepa canal. The canal goals to divert water from the Amu Darya – a transboundary river that kinds a part of Afghanistan’s northern borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan – and can arguably have an effect on the entire parched area. Uzbekistan is anticipated to dispatch a delegation by the top of the 12 months to debate the challenge extra absolutely with the Taliban.

As Niginakhon Saida famous in a report earlier this 12 months, “Kabul is just not a part of any transboundary water agreements with its northern neighbors.” And in September, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, talking at an Aral Sea-focused assembly in Dushanbe, famous {that a} “new participant” within the realm of water use within the area had appeared – an indirect reference to the Taliban. Uzbekistan’s approached to the canal challenge seems measured, not dismissing the challenge altogether however clearly looking for to drag the Taliban into consultative processes concerning water sharing within the area and maybe sluggish the challenge down to completely think about the impacts. 

Uzbekistan’s considerations about water could pair effectively with the Taliban’s considerations about transit charges, offering room for negotiation wherein both sides could get a few of what it needs from the opposite.

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